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Old 01-01-2009, 10:36 PM  
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This Day in History

Today...
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:47 AM   #676
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September 16.

1864. The Battle of Antietam does NOT start. General McCellan FAILS to move rapidly to crush General Lee's scattered forces. The Union does NOT inflict a grevious blow on the Confederate cause. No doubt the laundry from yesterday was now drying. What happens instead is that Lee's army has all day to reunite, with the last of the stragglers coming in the next morning.

Quote:
Originally Posted by President Lincoln
He (meaning McClellan) is an excellent engineer, but he seems to have a special talent for the stationary engine.
1908. General Motors is founded.

1919. The American Legion is incorporated.

Last edited by Amnorix; 09-16-2010 at 08:55 AM..
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Old 09-16-2010, 09:52 AM   #677
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Originally Posted by Amnorix View Post
September 13

122. Construction of Hadrian's Wall begins. A stone and timber wall built during (and obviously named after) the reign of Roman Emperor Hadrian, the wall was built across the entire width of what is now Northern England, a length of 73 miles. Designed to demarcate the northern border of Roman-ruled England, the wall was among the most heavily defended borders in the entire Roman empire, and may have served to help collect custom taxes as well as serving as a military fortification. Much of the wall has disappeared, adn many of its stones were used in roadbuilding during the 18th century, but what remains is one of the most visited attractions in Northern England.

533. The great Byzantine General, Belisarius, conquers the Vandals at the Battle of Ad Decimum, near Carthage, beginning the end of the Vandals and the "reconquest" of the west by Emperor Justinian (the so-called "Great").

1788. The Philadelphia Convention sets the date for electing the first President and establishes the country's capital in New York City, at least for now.

1814. A representative of the colonies was aboard the HMS Tonnant, there to negotiate the release of an American prisoner. Having been aboard the vessel for some time, he had become familiar with the British units' strength and positions, and their intent to attack the city of Baltimore, so he was temporarily prohibited from returning to his sloop. He was therefore unable to do anything but witness the British attack on Fort McHenry, outside Baltimore. When the smoke cleared from the bombardment, he was able to see the American flag above the fort still waving, and shouted the news to the prisoners below decks. And that is the inspiring story of how Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner, which in this humble writers opinion makes for a better story than song...

1848. On this date, railroad construction foreman Phineas Gage was supervising blasting work through rock for the Rutland and Burlington Railroad, outside Cavendish, Vermont when an inadvertant explosion drives a 3 foot long iron "damping" rod through the side of his face, behind the left out, and out the top of his skull.. After passing completely through his skull, the rod reportedly landed about 80 feet away. Amazingly, within a few minutes Gage was speaking, and then walking without assistance. The first doctor to arrive was a Dr. Williams, who recorded:



Gage ends up suffering some ill-effects, as one would imagine, but survies. As a result of the accident, however, Gage undergoes a severe change in personality. The effects of his accident trigger new waves of thought, research and understanding regarding the role of the brain and the different parts of the brain. Gage is cited in various medical textbooks to this day.

The direction in which the rod traveled:



The weapon in question, held by Gage himself:



1862. On a field outside Fredericksburg, Maryland, Union soldiers find a copy of General Robert E. Lee's plans for battle for what will become known as the Battle of Antietam. The order indicated that Lee had divided his army. Stunningly, despite this gift from God, Union General McClellan will still manage to snatch not much better than stalemate against a smaller army when he should have been able to inflict a crushing defeat in detail and possibly end the war. There was no doubt by the Union regarding the document's authenticity, as a Union officer had known Lee's adjutant before the war, and recognized and confirmed his handwriting.



1899. Henry Bliss becomes the first person in America to be killed in an automobile accident.

1922. The highest temperature ever recorded on Earth -- in Al'Aziziyah, Libya -- 136 degrees Fahrenheit.

1985. Nintendo creates the game Super Mario Bros.

There was quite a long discussion of the Gates pole to the head on the History channel a couple months ago. it was pretty interesting stuff..

The vomiting his brains thing was pretty gross..
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:03 AM   #678
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sofa King View Post
The vomiting his brains thing was pretty gross..
Yeah, I read that, was completely grossed out also, and had to share.

And you thought puke your brains out was just an expression....
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:19 PM   #679
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September 17. Big day. BIG.

480 BC. The Battle of Thermopylae. Today begins the battle between the Greeks, including 300 Spartans under their King Leonidis, against the Achaemenid (a/k/a Persian) Empire of Xerxes I. The battle was a part of the second Persian invasion of Greece, and a delayed reaction to the Persian defeat at the Battle of Marathon which had ended the first invasion. In this battle, one of the most famous in history, the Greeks sought to block the important pass of Thermopylae. The terrain and conditions acted as a tremendous force multiplier for the approximately 7,000 Greeks, who were able to block the Persian advance of between 70,000 to 300,000 Persian troops (by modern estimates -- the ancient numbers are absurd, some of which range into the millions). After several days of battle, a local resident showed the Persians a small path that could be used to get behind the Greek lines. Knowing defeat was inevitable, King Leonidis dismissed most of teh army, and stayed behind with a force of about 1,500, including 300 Spartans, 400 Thebans and 700 Thespians, nearly all of whom were killed to a man.

Upon hearing of the defeat, the Greek navy, which was similarly blocking the Persian navy, then withdrew to Salamis, where it would soon defeat the Persians in one of the most famous sea battles of antiquity.

1630. Boston, Massachusetts, is founded.

1787. The United States Constitution is signed in Philadelphia.

1862. General McClellan snatches a weak tactical and strategic victory from the jaws of overwhelming victory in the bloodiest day of combat in United States history, the Battle of Antietam. (more next post)

1920. The National Football League is organized in Canton, Ohio.

1939. The Soviet Union joins the Germans in assaulting Poland.

1944. Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne assault in history, commences, with allied troops parachuting into the Netherlands. It won't go well, as those who have seen the movie A Bridge Too Far, will know.

1978. The Camp David Accords are signed by Egypt and Israel.

1983. Vanessa Williams is crowned the first black Miss America. That also won't go well, though Ms. Williams will recover to have far more fame and success than most winners of the pageant.
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Old 09-16-2010, 10:51 PM   #680
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The Battle of Antietam, also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg (in the South), was fought between the approximately 75,000 man strong Union Army under the command of General McClellan and the 40,000 troops of the Confederacy under Robert E. Lee. Due to a stunning series of blunders and despite every possible advantage being handed to him, McClellan singularly failed to effectuate a devastating, if not fatal, blow to the Confederacy, with the result that the war would drag on for three more long, bloody years, and McClellan would soon be cashiered forever from the Army that he so dearly loved.

With 23,000 casualties, the Battle of Antietam -- which was fought in one day -- is easily the bloodiest day in US history, with more than quadruple the casualties suffered in the D-Day invasion of Normandy. The "Cornfield" and "Sunken Road" would join the "Bloody Angle" of Spotsylvania and the stone wall of Fredericksburg as being indelibly impressed on an entire generation of Americans as a place where literally thousands had died fighting for their cause. So intense and sustained was the violence, one man recalled, that the entire landscape around him seemed a misty red, leading to the name of the foremost book on the battle, "Landscape Turned Red", by Stephen Sears.

The battle serves as a textbook example of how to fight, and how not to fight, a battle. On the one side was Lee, desperately trying to save his army, taking advantage of interior lines and rapidly moving troops to plug gaps. On the other McClellan, who gave very detailed and specific orders to his subordinate commanders from hsi HQ post which was more than one mile from the front lines, resulting in a disjointed mess. As a result, the superior Union numbers were wasted as the battle started in the morning along the northern part of the battlefield, then shifted to the center, then to the South, giving the Confederates time to move forces to meet threats in sequence. McClellan also keep considerable forces in reserve, never throwing them into the fight, although the fighting was often desperate. A breakthrough could have smashed the entire Confederate position, and driven them to the banks of the Potomac over which there could be no easy escape.

By the end of the day the exhausted forces warily withdrew. Inexplicably, another grevious error by McClellan was his utter failure to follow up. Numerically superior, he let Lee's battered army peacefully withdraw to regroup. FOR FIVE WEEKS he simply sat there, and did nothing. In one of the more famous telegraphic exchanges of the war, McClellan cited fatigued horses as an excuse for not moving his army, prompting this reply from his exasperated commander in chief.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Abraham Lincoln
I have just read your dispatch about sore-tongued and fatigued horses. Will you pardon me for asking what the horses of your army have done since the battle of Antietam that fatigues anything?
This was only the latest time that Lincoln grew exhausted with prodding his commanders into action. Events such as these underlie other famous Lincoln quotes about Grant, who by contrast never needed such prodding. After the Battle of Shiloh, at which Grant had been surprised by the Confederates and some wanted him cashiered for reportedly being drunk (he wasn't), Lincoln said "I cannot spare this man -- he fights!" and, more amusingly, "if drink makes Grant fight then find out what he drinks so I can send a barrel to my other commanders."

Finally, Lincoln could take no more. In early November, after the fall mid-term elections, McClellan was fired. The well-meaning but mediocre General Burnside would inherit command, to lead the army to disaster at Fredericksburg.

The strategic consequences of Antietam, however, were very positive for the Union. Lee's first invasion of the North had failed. The second would also fail, at Gettysburg, a year later. Meanwhile, President Lincoln decided that Antietam was a sufficient victory to give a speech he had long been planning, waiting for an opportune moment. Therefore, on September 22, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which among other things greatly dissuaded the European Powers, especially England, from being able to provide active assistance to the Confederate cause.

From a military standpoint, however, the battle was a grievous lost opportunity. I'll end with a quote from the author of the foremost book on the battle, and note (to give some context) that the lead in clause of the first sentence was how McClellan himself saw the battle:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Sears, in Landscape Turned Red
In making his battle against great odds to save the Republic, General McClellan had committed barely 50,000 infantrymen and artillerymen to the contest. A third of his army did not fire a shot. Even at that, his men repeatedly drove the Army of Northern Virginia to the brink of disaster, feats of valor entirely lost on a commander thinking of little beyond staving off his own defeat.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:34 AM   #681
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2000. Sylvester Morris hung 3 TDs on the Sand Diego Chargers.

This will forever be etched in my mind, because I watched it from the hospital room where my wife was going through labor for our first son.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:44 AM   #682
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2000. Sylvester Morris hung 3 TDs on the Sand Diego Chargers.

This will forever be etched in my mind, because I watched it from the hospital room where my wife was going through labor for our first son.

Was that your son Sylvester or your son Morris?
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:47 AM   #683
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Was that your son Sylvester or your son Morris?
We just called him SlyMo. Unfortunately after a very promising year at pre-school, he got hurt on the playground and really never bounced back in kindergarten, so we had to put him up for adoption.
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Old 09-17-2010, 09:59 AM   #684
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We just called him SlyMo. Unfortunately after a very promising year at pre-school, he got hurt on the playground and really never bounced back in kindergarten, so we had to put him up for adoption.
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Old 09-17-2010, 10:33 PM   #685
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September 18

1793. George Washington lays the cornerstone of the Capitol.

1859. Congress passes the Fugitive Slave Act, increasing sectional tensions in advance of the Civil War.

1851. First publication of teh New York Daily Times, which will later be renamed the New York Times.

1873. The Panic of 1857 begins.
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Old 09-17-2010, 11:21 PM   #686
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2000. Sylvester Morris hung 3 TDs on the Sand Diego Chargers.

This will forever be etched in my mind, because I watched it from the hospital room where my wife was going through labor for our first son.

How many touchdowns did he have the rest of the season?





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Old 09-20-2010, 07:36 AM   #687
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September 19

1356. The Battle of Poitiers. The second of the three great victories of the English during the "Hundred Years War", the British soundly defeat the French and take their king, John II of France, captive. The British release John in order to allow him to raise the ransom, which was equivalent to approximately double the annual income of the country. Unable to raise it, he surrenders himself to the British, and dies some months later in captivity.

1863. The Battle of Chicamauga. The most serious Union defeat in the western theater during the entire war, the day is only barely saved by troops under the command of Maj. Gen. George Thomas, who will earn the nickname "The Rock of Chickamauga" as a result. The failure results in the Confederate siege of Chattanooga, which in turn results in a major scramble by the Union to break the siege, which is eventually accomplished two months later by troops under Ulysses S. Grant.

1870. The siege of Paris begins in the Franco-Prussian War, which will eventually result in the surrender of Paris on January 28, 1871, after the starving French are reduced to eating rats, etc.

1952. Charlie Chaplin is barred by the United States from returning after a brief trip home to England. The prohibition comes at the behest of J. Edgar Hoover, who believed Chaplin was a Communist, etc. during this, the height of the McCarthyism era. If I remember correctly, during this era the INS was ruled as the private fiefdom by a female bureaucrat whose name escapes me, much as the FBI was ruled by Hoover. Chaplin will make a triumphant return in 1972.

1995. The Washington Post and New York Times post the Unabomber's Manifesto, which will then result in a report from his brother that Theodore Kaczynski may be the Unabomber.
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Old 09-20-2010, 08:03 AM   #688
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September 20

1187. The great Muslim leader Saladin begins the Siege of Jerusalem, which will fall in two weeks, and in turn provoke the Third Crusade, which will have as its overriding goal the recovery of the city.

1633. Galileo is tried before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for teaching the heretical idea that the Earth orbits the Sun.

1737. The completion of the Walking Purchase results in the cessation of 1.2 million acres of land by the Lenape (Delaware) tribe of American Indians to Pennsylvania. William Penn had believed fervently in treating fairly with the Indians, which resulted in generally mcuh better relations between him and his colony and the natives, but by 1737 he was long dead. His successors claimed they had a deed from 1680 ceding land equal to what a man could walk in a day and a half. The veracity of this deed is greatly in question, especially as his successors agents had already sold vast swaths of the land in qeustion, and now had to clear it for settlement by colonists. The Encyclopedia Brittanica refers to it as "The Land Swindle". The Indians believed the document was genuine, and since they also believed that about 40 miles was the most a man could walk in a day in a half, they agreed to honor the treaty. The colony then hired the three fastest men in the colony to walk as fast as possible, and with as little sleep as possible, on a prepared trail. They in fact walked 70 miles, obtaining an area roughly the size of Rhode Island in the process.


1792. French troops stop the invasion of troops by members of the First Coalition -- the first efforts of Imperial Europe to contain revolutionary France.

1967. The Queen Elizabeth 2 is launched.

2001. In a speech to a joint session of Congress, President Bush declares a "War on Terror."
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Old 09-21-2010, 07:45 AM   #689
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September 21

1780. American General Benedict Arnold, the Commander of West Point, gives the British the plans for the key fortification. A courier involved will be caught and within a week General Washington will know of the betrayal. A fascinating character study, Arnold was a tremendous contributor to the American cause early in the war, but also very difficult to get along with. Arnold felt generally unappreciated by his country and his fellow commanding officers, and apparently became increasingly bitter about his situation, resulting in his unpardonable betrayal. Benjamin Franklin would go on to write that "Judas sold only one man, Arnold three millions."

1827. Joseph Smith, Jr. is (according to him) visited by the Angel Moroni (a resurrected indigineous American), who gives him a record of gold plates (which had been written and abridged by Moroni over a millenium ago), one third of which he translates into the Book of Mormon.

1897. The New York Sun editor Francis Church responds an inquiry from eight year old Virginia O'Hanlon about Christmas, informing her that "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus." She had written to the Sun after asking her father if Santa Claus really existed, as her friends had told her that it was a myth. Church took the opportunity in his response to explore the philosophy of Christmas in framing his response. Virginia's letter, and Church's response, are read each year at the Yule Log ceremony at Church's alma mater, Columbia.

1937. Bilbo Baggins obtains the One Ring and helps defeat Smaug with the publication of The Hobbit.

1961. Maiden flight of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter. It remains in service and in production to this day.



1964. Maiden flight of the XB-70 Valkyrie, a bomber designed to exceed Mach 3 at 70,000 feet in altitude. The design was scrapped after advances in missile technology, which seemingly rendered the concept obsolete as the plane was originally contemplated to fly higher and faster than Soviet interceptors of the era. The remaining prototype in existence is on display at the Air Force Museum in Ohio.



1981. The United States Senate unanimously approves Sandra Day O'Connor as the first female Supreme Court Justice.

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Old 09-22-2010, 07:18 AM   #690
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September 22

1761. George III's coronation. His long run (until 1820) will see the victory of the British in the Seven Years' War (a/k/a the French and Indian War) and the ascendancy of Britain in North America, the loss of the colonies, the beheadings of the King and Queen of France and the rise and fall of Napoleon. In his later years, however, he suffered from mental illness, not well understood at the time, and the realm would be ruled by a regent, his son, also George and later George IV.

1776. Nathan Hale is hanged as a spy, proclaiming that "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country".

1827. Jack Dempsey loses the "long count" boxing match to Gene Tunney, and if I have to explain what that is all about, you likely don't care enough about boxing history to want to read it anyway...

1980. Iraq invades Iran beginning a protracted war between the two countries.
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